Capitol Corridor
Capitol Corridor
Capitol Corridor
University of California
Capitol Corridor

Rangelands could offset tons of carbon emissions

With proper management, already productive California rangeland could single-handedly offset the state's carbon emissions, believe researchers involved in The Marin Carbon Project.

The ongoing effort was covered by the San Rafael/Terra Linda News Pointer in connection with a Bioneers Conference taking place Oct 15-17 at San Rafael’s Marin Center.

The Marin Carbon Project was formed to establish the basis for rangeland soil carbon sequestration. Initiated two years ago, the project involves ranchers and researchers representing UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Cooperative Extension, Marin Organic, Marin Agricultural Land Trust, Marin Resource Conservation District, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Nicasio Native Grass Ranch, the Marin County Agriculture Commissioner and the Environmental Defense Fund.

Soil surveys to establish pre-existing levels of carbon in Marin rangeland soils have been completed. This baseline data will allow the accurate assessment of how much carbon improved management practices sequester over time.

For example, project co-founder John Wick told reporter Anna McCarthy that composting wet dairy manure with greenwaste and spreading it on rangelands increases rangeland production and reduces the risk of pathogen runoff into waterways. The practice also "turns the land into a carbon sucking machine," McCarthy wrote.

“It works,” Wick was quoted. “And it works at such a rate, it’s phenomenal.”

A year after adding a half-inch dusting of compost to his rangelands, Wick said the soil yielded 10 tons of carbon per hectare (10,000 square meters).

“That rate, applied on one-third of California’s rangeland, would offset all of California’s emissions every year,” Wick told the reporter.

The Marin Carbon Project seeks to document carbon sequestration in rangeland.
The Marin Carbon Project seeks to document carbon sequestration in rangeland.

Posted on Thursday, October 14, 2010 at 10:14 AM
Tags: carbon sequestration (4), grazing (18), rangeland (30)

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